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Italy: Classic Tuscany and the Treasures of Florence

Program Number: 19715RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/5/2014 - 10/18/2014; 10/19/2014 - 11/1/2014; 3/15/2015 - 3/28/2015; 4/19/2015 - 5/2/2015; 5/3/2015 - 5/16/2015; 5/17/2015 - 5/30/2015; 9/13/2015 - 9/26/2015; 9/27/2015 - 10/10/2015; 10/11/2015 - 10/24/2015; 10/18/2015 - 10/31/2015;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $3,758.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 28; 12 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

For centuries, the verdant landscapes and medieval villages of Tuscany remained frozen in time. Scarcely changed in appearance, today the entire region is a living cultural treasure. In the hills of northern Tuscany and the plain of Florence, discover the unparalleled artistic genius that blossomed into masterpieces of marble, canvas and architecture whose brilliance transcends time and place.




Highlights

• Visit the famed quarries of Carrara to learn why this marble is the material of choice for great sculptors and architects.
• Explore the villa of Lorenzo de'Medici at Poggio a Caiano, and visit a winery in the Tuscan countryside to sample Tuscan wines.
• View the great masterpieces in Florence: works by Donatello, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Caravaggio, Cellini and Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture, “David.”



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day on uneven terrain. Towns and city centers have wide traffic-free areas. Expect inclines on walks in Siena.




Date Specific Information

10-5-2014, 10-19-2014, 4-19-2015, 5-3-2015, 5-17-2015, 9-27-2015, 10-18-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



3-15-2015

Consider this off peak time to avoid crowds at museums and city centers.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Pisa, coach to Lucca, 4 nights; coach to Siena, 5 nights; coach to Florence, 3 nights; departure



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Pisa, coach to Lucca
4 nights

Walk the streets of Medieval Lucca, tracing it nearly 2000-year history. Learn about the renowned white and blue-gray Carrara marble that was the medium of choice for Renaissance sculptors. Visit a quarry to see how the marble is extracted and an artist’s workshop (work schedule permitting) to view raw stone crafted into a work of art. Embark on a field trip to Pisa to explore the history of its famous leaning tower and baptistery and art in nearby museums.



Coach to Siena
5 nights

Begin to train your eye to discern the difference between work of art created by the Sienese and Florentine art schools, pay homage to the great Renaissance patron Lorenzo de'Medici at his villa. With an expert in Siena, view the Campo, Palazzo Pubblico and Duomo — the most famous in Italy. Learn about the incomparable Palio horse race and see why this centuries-old raucous tradition draws more than 100,000 spectators. Take field trips to the medieval city of San Gimignano and Renaissance Pienza. Sample great Tuscan wines.



Coach to Florence
3 nights
Departure

Illustrated lectures on Medieval and Renaissance art prepare you for independent explorations of the world-famous Uffizi Gallery and Bargello National Museum of Sculpture. At the Accademia delle Belle Arti marvel at Michelangelo's “David.”




Italy

“Dolce far niente,” the “sweetness of doing nothing.” This ode to leisure is a distinctly Italian phrase, and yet the expression does not do justice to the hard-work ethos of the nation’s inhabitants. The monuments, art and civilization bequeathed to the people of modern Italy are a testament to the industry of their forebearers, and the legacy lives on in today’s Italians, who work hard to better enjoy the sweetness of repose.



Accommodations
Lucca: Four-star hotel in historic building near the Roman Amphitheater. Siena: Four-star hotel in city center convenient to notable sites. Florence: Three-star hotel built in 19th century at edge of Market of San Lorenzo.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Umberto Cattani

Umberto Cattani is a licensed educational excursion leader in Tuscany. After completing his studies in finance, Umberto worked in Milan as a sales manager for a clothing manufacturer. He discovered his real passion for teaching — and completed the required courses in art history, archaeology and history to achieve his new goal. Umberto lives in Carrara with his wife and daughter.
 
Donatella Grilli

Donatella Grilli enjoys sharing her energy and enthusiasm for Siena and San Gimignano. Donatella has been a part of Road Scholar programs in association with Trinity College for more than 10 years and especially enjoys sharing stories of Tuscany’s rich history with thoughtful participants.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Universo
  Lucca, Italy 4 nights
   NH Excelsior
  Siena, Italy 5 nights
   Hotel Axial
  Florence, Italy 3 nights
 Hotel Universo
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Historical building in the center of town overlooking a spacious tree lined piazza. Originally a private residence in the 16th century, it was converted into a hotel in 1857.
  Contact info: Piazza del Giglio 1
Lucca,  55100 Italy
phone: +39 0583-493-678
web: www.universolucca.com
  Room amenities: Private bath in every room, Satellite TV, mini-bar, climate control, direct dial telephone, complimentary toiletries, hair dryer. Individual safe boxes are not in the rooms but the reception will provide an envelope for you to seal and deposit small valuables in the hotel's safe.
  Facility amenities: Recent renovations at the property retain the charm of the historic property with tasteful decor. Breakfast buffet, meeting room, complimentary wi-fi.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: varies by season You can book additional nights directly through the hotel’s online reservation system www.universolucca.com. Indicate to the hotel that you are with the Road Scholar group and every effort will be made to ensure continuity of room assignment. Another option is to reserve through online hotel consolidators such as hotels.com or Expedia.
  Check in time: 1:00 PM

 NH Excelsior
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Modern hotel with excellent central location overlooking the city's main park.
  Contact info: Piazza La Lizza 1
Siena, NA 53100 Italy
phone: +39 0577 38 211
web: www.nh-hotels.it
  Room amenities: 126 rooms with air-conditioning, telephone, television, room safe and mini-bar.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar, fitness center, complimentary wi-fi in the rooms and common areas, internet point in the lobby.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Axial
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Centrally located on the fashionable Via dei Calzaiuoli, half way between the Duomo of Florence and Piazza della Signoria. One block away from Piazza della Repubblica. Convenient to all major sites and museums. Downtown Florence is closed to vehicular traffic, so enjoy a leisurely stroll at your pleasure.
  Contact info: Via dei Calzaiuoli 11
Florence,  50122 Italy
phone: +39 055 218 984
web: www.hotelaxial.it
  Room amenities: Individual climate controls for AC or heat; mini bar; electronic safe, satellite TV; free Wi-Fi in rooms; hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: Remodeled 19th century building features small inner courtyard, double pane insulated windows, individual AC and heat controls, free Wi-Fi, Internet point (2 computers) in the reading room, satellite TV, bar and continental breakfast buffet.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: varies by season You can book additional nights directly through the hotel’s online reservation system www.hotelaxial.it. Indicate to the hotel that you are with the Road Scholar group and every effort will be made to ensure continuity of room assignment. Another option is to use online hotel consolidator services such as Hotels.com or Expedia.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in 1:00 pm. Lunch provided for morning arrivals. Group meets in the lobby at 4 pm You will be staying at Hotel Universo that night.
  End of Program:
Check out of hotel by 11:00 am. No activities other than departure transfers to Florence airport You will be staying at Hotel Axial the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Regular public bus service to Lucca from Florence, Pisa and Pisa Airport. Train service from Lucca to Pisa and Florence. Check trenitalia.com for timetables
To Start of Program
  Location:  in flight
  Transportation to site: To reach the program site in Lucca on your own you have two public transportation options: bus or train. The information desk in the Pisa airport arrivals terminal has bus and train timetables and can sell tickets. Buses to Lucca depart every hour from the airport terminal. Ride takes about 50 min.; fare is appox. EUR 5. To ride the train to Lucca, there are frequent shuttle buses that run from the airport to Pisa Centrale, the main train station. Train fare to Lucca is about EUR 4. When you arrive in Lucca by train or bus it is advisable to take a taxi to the hotel (fare about EUR 12) especially if you have luggage in tow. Taxi fare direct from the Pisa airport to the hotel in Lucca (about 20 miles) will be approx. EUR 85.
  From End of Program
  Location: in flight
  Transportation from site: To reach the Florence airport on your own, taxis from the hotel to the airport are about EUR 25 depending on time of travel, number of persons and luggage. There is a public bus that runs twice an hour from the main train station in Florence to the airport. Tickets are EUR 6. The hotel is about 6 long city blocks from the station. .
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Transatlantic flight.
(Sunday, October 5)
   
 In Transit: Flight to Pisa

Day 2: Arrivals / Welcome and Program Overview
(Monday, October 6)

Note: Minimal exertion, a walk around town and classroom time for a lecture.



   
 Arrive To: Transfer to the program site hotel.
 Lunch: Light lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Late afternoon, program overview and Welcome reception. The most updated day to day schedule will be distributed at this time.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Universo
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: From Origins to the Present
(Tuesday, October 7)

Note: Extended periods of standing during the expert-led walk in the heart of the pedestrian only small city.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: A local guide leads a walk in Lucca. The defensive walls surrounding Lucca date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. The circumference is just over 3 miles and the lanes are wide enough for walkers and recreational bike riders.Visit the Basilica of S. Martino and admire its marble facade decorated with Romanesque statues and motifs.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Learn about the history of Tuscany through the centuries. Some free time to explore Lucca on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Universo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: From Calcium Carbonate to Art: Carrara Marble / Tuscan Food Traditions
(Wednesday, October 8)

Note: Coach one hour to Carrara and the quarries. Not a strenuous day. The expert-led walk in Carrara might take 30 minutes to see the city center.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach to Carrara. Visit the quarries above the town. See the massive machinery used to extract the marble, as you ponder how it was accomplished since antiquity prior to the invention of motorized equipment.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant in the center of Carrara. Enjoy some local Tuscan dishes.
 Afternoon: Learn about marble as the medium for artists. Working schedule permitting, visit an artists' workshop. Return to Lucca mid-afternoon for a lecture on the traditions of authentic Tuscan food.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Universo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Explore Lucca / Piazza dei Miracoli, Duomo, Baptistery, Leaning Tower of Pisa
(Thursday, October 9)

Note: Light exertion in Pisa for the visit to the Piazza dei Miracoli, the Duomo complex comprised of the famous Leaning Tower and Baptistery. In high season reservations are required to climb the tower. 10 min. walk on flat terrain due to the wide traffic free area surrounding the Duomo complex.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Explore Lucca’s city planning from its origins in 180 BCE to the present. See the oval shaped piazza which conforms to the old Roman amphitheater. Stroll through the elegant shopping district on your walk back to the hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Afternoon excursion to Pisa. Expert-led visit of the Duomo complex (Baptistery, Campo Santo, and Leaning Tower, which the group does not climb). Until the port of Pisa silted up, it was a strong maritime republic (along with Genoa, Amalfi and Venice) and the wealth of the city is demonstrated by the civic and religious pride the inhabitants had by funding such a grandiose construction. The Duomo is one of the few Romanesque churches to have a dome built over the apse. The double dome of the Baptistery provides excellent acoustics. Train to Lucca late afternoon.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Attend a performance of music by Puccini. The exact evening and program will be announced at the Welcome Meeting.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Universo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Transfer to Siena / Chianti / Medieval Civic Pride
(Friday, October 10)

Note: The road from the hotel to the Campo is pedestrian only and has some inclines as you near the wide Campo which slopes down to the Town Hall



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach to a winery along a scenic route through olive orchards and vineyards in the Chianti hills near Siena.
 Lunch: Enjoy a lunch in the Chianti region and sample the local wine.
 Afternoon: Coach south to Siena through the Tuscan countryside. Check into the hotel located in the historical center of town. After settling into your room meet for a city orientation walk that ends up in the Piazza del Campo. The perimeter of the wide square is the site where the famed Palio horse race takes place in July and August.. Expert-led visit continues to the Palazzo Pubblico. The great hall of the medieval Palazzo, still serving today as the town hall, contains an important fresco cycle depicting an allegory of Good and Bad Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Of note is Simone Martini's fresco of Guidoriccio da Fogliano on horseback.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant in the Piazza del Campo.
   
Accommodations: NH Excelsior
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Explore Siena's Duomo and Museum Complex
(Saturday, October 11)

Note: Note that Siena was settled on 3 hills and the walking path may include steep inclines of the pedestrian only streets.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: An expert-led walk to Siena's elaborately decorated cathedral (il Duomo). The floors are paved with inlaid marble depicting figures in religious and allegorical scenes. The visit continues to the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Guided visit continues of part of the collection of the museum complex Santa Maria della Scala.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: NH Excelsior
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: San Gimignano / Dinner in the Countryside
(Sunday, October 12)

Note: Coach to San Gimignano and walk around the small hill town. Not a strenuous excursion but the town roads are inclined.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Free Morning.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Excursion by coach to San Gimignano for an expert-led visit to the medieval city. An original Etruscan town, this town retains much of its medieval aspect.
 Dinner: Enjoy a dinner at a farm outside San Gimignano. Coach to Siena in the evening.
   
Accommodations: NH Excelsior
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Medieval Rivals / The Palio: More Than a Horse Race / Cooking School
(Monday, October 13)

Note: Leisurely walk around town to visit one or more contrade, or districts. Note that Siena was settled on 3 hills and the walking path may include steep inclines of the pedestrian only streets.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Learn about the traditions and the excitement the Palio creates in the various districts. At a cooking school, learn more about authentic Tuscan cooking with a hands-on lesson on fresh pasta and a seasonal Sienese dish.
 Lunch: Lunch at the cooking school. The lesson and lunch last about 3 hours.
 Afternoon: The district (or contrada) meeting halls are strictly for members, but a local expert leads the exclusive visit to one of the contrada's meeting hall, museum and chapel.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: NH Excelsior
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Pienza and the Tuscan Hills
(Tuesday, October 14)

Note: One hour coach ride to Pienza and a coach ride through the Tuscan countryside on the return. Short walks in Pienza, a very small hill town.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach excursion winds around Tuscan hills to the town of Pienza. Pope Pius II Piccolomini (1458-1464), a humanist scholar and poet, was born in the nearby village of Corsignano, and once he became pope he began a building project to transform his home town into an idealized Renaissance city. He built his palace near the main piazza renamed the town after himself. Short stroll to a terrace overlooking the hills and farms of the Val d'Orcia.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own. In the small town of Pienza there are wine bars, cafes and restaurants from which to choose.
 Afternoon: On the coach ride back to Siena, sit back and admire the rolling hills of vineyards dotted with isolated farmhouses. Visit a dairy farm and sample the local pecorino, or sheep's milk cheese.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel restaurant.
   
Accommodations: NH Excelsior
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Coach to Florence / Medieval and Renaissance Art
(Wednesday, October 15)

Note: Transfer to Florence by coach, minimal exertion.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to Florence with a stop in Poggio a Caiano for an expert-led visit of the Villa of Lorenzo de'Medici. The architect Sangallo incorporated elements of classical antiquity: an arched portico which served as a porch and a shaded area around the building; an entrance flanked by grand staircases leading to the main entrance. The main halls are decorated with frescoes by Pontormo and Andrea del Sarto. Coach continues to the hotel in Florence to drop off bags in the safety of the baggage room; rooms may not be ready.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After checking into your room, walk to the Accademia delle Belle Arti. A local expert leads the visit of the sculpture collection in the main hall which includes the David as well as the unfinished pieces called the Prisoners which seem to be still imprisoned in the block of Carrara marble. There are other small collections in the museum that you might want to browse on your own, such as the collection of early string instruments or the painting gallery with works from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and early 17th century.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Axial
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Market Walk / Uffizi Gallery
(Thursday, October 16)

Note: Minimal exertion, the historical center if Florence is closed to traffic and the terrain is level. Long flight of stone stairs to reach the picture gallery of the Uffizi. A small elevator in service for persons with disabilities.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet (continental style) at the hotel. .
 Morning: Market walk in the area of Brunelleschi's church of S. Lorenzo. Along the streets vendors set up carts with leather goods, pottery, scarves, souvenirs, etc. In the late 1800's the Central Market was built. Stalls display and sell fresh and cured meats, cheeses, breads, and other foods. In addition there is a fresh 'fast food' court where you can get sandwiches, pizza, focaccia, or hot dishes. You might want to try one of the eateries for an excluded lunch. Late morning lecture on Renaissance Art in preparation for the self-guided visit to the Uffizi Gallery.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: The reserved entrance time to the Uffizi Gallery allows you to visit at your own pace. In the Gallery the art works are arranged in an order that illustrates the progression from the International Gothic style to Mannerism and Baroque art with pieces by Caravaggio and Artemisia Gentilleschi. There is a coffee shop at the end corridor where you can purchase refreshments and enjoy a commanding view of the bell tower of Palazzo Vecchio and the Cupola of the Duomo. The bar's terrace is located over the Loggia dei Lanzi at Piazza della Signoria.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Axial
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13: Bargello Museum / Free Afternoon
(Friday, October 17)

Note: Minimal exertion on walks to the museums. A small elevator is in service for the truly needy.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet (continental style) at the hotel.
 Morning: Short walk to the Bargello National Museum of Sculpture for an expert-led visit. The 13th c. palace itself served as the magistrate's headquarters and civic court. Now you will find sculptures by Donatello (St. George, David), and sculptures by Michelangelo, Giambologna and Cellini. In addition to sculpture there are rooms with fine examples of decorated pottery and armaments: swords, lances, early pistols, and suits of armor.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Free Afternoon.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Axial
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 14: Departures
(Saturday, October 18)

Note: Coach to the terminal door. Roll your own bag to the check-in counter.



   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast buffet at the hotel.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Siena Torre di Mangia
From the Palazzo Pubblico rises the imposing Torre del Mangia, which dates back to the 1300s. If your legs are up to the climbing the 400 steps, there are spectacular views from the top of the city and surrounding countryside. Sorry, no elevator.
  Market
Each Wednesday morning, the park near the Piazza Gramsci comes alive with vendors selling home goods, clothing, leather goods, and ceramics.
  Florence Botanical Gardens
extensive gardens and greenhouses where the Univiversity of Florence maintains 4 million botanical specimens in a wooded urban park, the "Giardino dei Semplici"
  Museums
Visit other museums in Florence such as the Stibbert Museum which houses a collection of weapons, armor and costumes from the 16th to the 20th century. The Marino Marini Museum exhibits works of the contemporary sculptor.
  Lucca Walk, bike the walls
Lucca is surrounded by 2.5 miles of wide 16th-century walls. You can walk part or all of the path or rent a bicycle and ride with all age groups of locals. The flat path is shaded and very enjoyable to stroll or bike. To rent bikes, head to the tourist office in Piazza Santa Maria and rent from one of the two bike shops, Cicli Bizzarri or Antonio Poli's. They do have helmets available but you won't see local cyclists wearing them. Head up the ramp from the piazza to get up on to the walls. Many hotels in town also provide bicycles for guests.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Brunelleschi's Dome, How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture


Author: Ross King


Description: The story of the design and construction of the dome in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, a tale rife with politics, cut-throat competition and mighty inspiration.



Every Day in Tuscany, Seasons of an Italian Life


Author: Frances Mayes


Description: Twenty years later Mayes is still besotted by Italy -- her house, the tumbling geraniums, the people and the food -- all lovingly documented in her best memoir yet. With interludes in Portofino, Assisi and Rome and a focus on Renaissance master artist Luca Signorelli.



Fodor's Florence's 25 Best


Author: Fodor's


Description: This shirt-pocket guide includes an excellent map and essential information on the city's highlights, including sightseeing, restaurants and shopping.



Insight Guide Tuscany


Author: Insight Guides


Description: An illustrated guide in the popular series, noteworthy for its maps and illuminating essays on history, art, food and culture.



La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind


Author: Beppe Severgnini


Description: Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses the apparently never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. Severgnini opens the book with a snapshot of the hubbub at Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.



La Bella Lingua


Author: Dianne Hales


Description: Inebriated with the sounds of Italian, lovesick for its phrases and enamored of its earthy idioms, Hales, "a sensible woman of sturdy Polish stock," dives into the Italian of the piazza, literature, movies and streets in this charming memoir.



Renaissance Florence, The Invention of a New Art


Author: A. Richard Turner


Description: A cultural and social history of the city focusing on the great art and famous monuments, featuring vivid color pictures and illustrations.



Seven Seasons in Siena


Author: Robert Rodi


Description: Rodi chronicles with self-deprecating hilarity his increasingly desperate and finally successful efforts over seven years to belong in Siena.



The Art of the Renaissance


Author: Peter Murray


Description: A classic, illustrated survey of the world of the Renaissance and its art. With chapters on Florence and its artists, the Netherlands, early illustrated books and many individual artists.



The Finest Wines of Tuscany and Central Italy


Author: Hugh Johnson (Foreword), Nicholas Belfrage


Description: This astute guide to wine-making regions and villages in Tuscany includes a history of Tuscan grapes and culture, excellent color maps and profiles of select vintners and wines.



The House of Medici, Its Rise and Fall


Author: Christopher Hibbert


Description: A well-written, entertaining history of the Medicis in Renaissance Florence. Great to read before going to Florence, where the influence of the Medicis and the artists they supported is still very much in evidence.



The Renaissance, A Short History


Author: Paul Johnson


Description: The history, background, literature, sculpture, paintings and architecture of the Renaissance in just over 200 lively, thought-provoking pages.



The Stones of Florence


Author: Mary McCarthy


Description: The classic history of the art, architecture and culture of Florence. Novelist McCarthy takes us on a quick and vivid tour of the history of the Medicis and the city of Florence, focusing on Renaissance art.



Tuscany Map


Author: Touring Club Italiano


Description: A detailed map at a scale of 1:200,000. Imported from Italy.





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